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In the process of trying to make my vpc-1 play a bit lighter/smoother, i measured the weight of all hammers.

Turns out the hammers for the black keys are actually lighter, like the casio px-s1000/3000. Also they are higher in rest position as can be seen in the picture:

[Linked Image]


I guess Kawai did a better job than Casio with this as noone (including me) seems to have any problems with black keys feeling different to white keys on a wooden kawai action, but the way of weigthing hammers seems about the same.

I wonder why they do this? I'm sure the professionals at Kawai know what their doing, but it doesn't seem entirely logical to me, as the white key parts near the fallboard between the black keys seems like the hardest to depress. So shouldn't this result in inconsistincy between the keys like the problem with those casio's?

These are the weighting results:


----White-------------Black---(*gram)

1 - 31.6
2 ---------------------28.0
3 - 31.6
4 - 31.7
5 ---------------------28.0
6 - 31.4
7 ---------------------28.0
8 - 31.6
9 - 31.6
10 --------------------28.0
11 - 31.6
12 --------------------28.0
13 - 31.6
14 --------------------28.0
15 - 31.4
###################
16 - 30.3
17 --------------------26.8
18 - 30.3
19 --------------------26.8
20 - 30.3
21 - 30.2
22 --------------------26.8
23 - 30.3
24 --------------------26.8
25 - 30.4
26 --------------------26.8
27 - 30.2
28 - 30.4
29 --------------------26.7
30 - 30.3
31 --------------------26.9
32 - 30.3
###################
33 - 29.4
34 --------------------25.4
35 - 29.4
36 --------------------25.5
37 - 29.3
38 --------------------25.4
39 - 29.5
40 - 29.3
41 --------------------25.5
42 - 29.3
43 --------------------25.4
44 - 29.3
45 - 29.4
46 --------------------25.5
47 - 29.4
48 --------------------25.6
49 - 29.7
50 --------------------25.6
51 - 29.3
52 - 29.4
53 --------------------25.5
54 - 29.4
55 --------------------25.5
56 - 29.3
57 - 29.3
58 --------------------25.6
59 - 29.3
60 --------------------25.5
61 - 29.3
62 --------------------25.5
63 - 29.3
###################
64 - 26.8
65 --------------------23.0
66 - 26.7
67 --------------------23.1
68 - 26.7
69 - 26.7
70 --------------------23.1
71 - 26.7
72 --------------------23.0
73 - 26.7
74 --------------------23.1
75 - 26.8
76 - 26.6
77 --------------------23.1
78 - 26.8
79 --------------------23.0
80 - 26.7
81 - 26.7
82 --------------------23.0
83 - 26.7
84 --------------------23.0
85 - 26.8
86 --------------------23.0
87 - 26.6
88 - 26.8


Also there seem to be some small inconsistencies in the weighting here and there.

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As in a real piano.

But real life is much more than a real piano. And snobs are all around. What they perceive as an outrageous defect in a poor casio, they don't even notice in a prestigious kawai.

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Might it be because:

1. the hammers are lifted by a lever (the keys);

2. the black keys are shorter levers than the white keys are;

3. what the pianist feels is the amount of work or force required to move the hammer;

4. to equalize the amount of force required to move the white keys to the amount of force required to move the black keys would require either that the black keys be lengthened to the same length as the white keys, or, the white keys be shortened to the same length as the black keys, or, the weight of the black key hammers must be less than the weight of the white key hammers to compensate for the reduced leverage;

5. Since the first two options in #4 above would make the instrument no longer a piano, the third option (unequal hammer weights) is the solution that evens out the work required for all keys while still keeping the instrument a piano?


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You might find the Ravensworks' VPC upgrades documented here of interest
http://nebula.wsimg.com/7563cfd9d30...548C&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

There were some measurements of and complaints on VPC action at the PianoTeq forums
https://forum.modartt.com/viewtopic.php?id=6886

Mr Flaherty has some photos and schematics of the VPC here
https://web.archive.org/web/20170907091531/http://joflaherty.org/VPC1/images/thumbs.html

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Main question is: what would you feel if the weighting was similar between white and black keys? Maybe the black keys would feel heavier and this weighting difference is necessary to adress the different angle of attack. As u3piano points out, no one complained before (and boy, are there complainers around here...)

Last edited by vagfilm; 02/18/21 06:21 AM.
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Originally Posted by newer player
You might find the Ravensworks' VPC upgrades documented here of interest
http://nebula.wsimg.com/7563cfd9d30...548C&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

There were some measurements of and complaints on VPC action at the PianoTeq forums
https://forum.modartt.com/viewtopic.php?id=6886

Mr Flaherty has some photos and schematics of the VPC here
https://web.archive.org/web/20170907091531/http://joflaherty.org/VPC1/images/thumbs.html

That's really useful! Thanks! I had seen the pianoteq thread but not the ravenworks pdf and the mr Flaherty photos and schematics. The plan is to reduce keydip like in the ravenworks vpc-1, using the simple method as one person posted in the pianoteq thread, (raising the felt under the back of the keys), reducing the weight of the hammers by a couple of grams (by drilling) to lower the touchweight a bit, and re-greasing everything.

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U3piano: I have zero (or negative values...) experience in piano regulation, but as far as I can tell, drilling the hammer weights would be similar to shave a bit of the key wood beyond the pivot point in a acoustic action. And piano regulators (using hundreds of years of experience in piano regulation techniques) don't take out weight beyond the pivot, but prefer to increase balance by ADDING weigth before the pivot. There should be some value to that, I assume... You may end up with and light, less controllable balance, with a slower key return. Before starting to drill I would experiment your first, easily reversible, option of adding counterweights. My 2 cents...

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Originally Posted by Ralphiano
Might it be because:

2. the black keys are shorter levers than the white keys are;
This.

The weights themselves are simply part of a lever/fulcrum system so it doesn't so much matter what the component parts weigh (a shorter lever would clearly require a lighter weight) but it's what the final action feels like in terms of weight. That is how hard your little pinky has to press to cause the same action for black as on one of the white keys.

I know its contentious but if you look at the JPS videos what he is doing is measuring the key action at the actual point of interaction. His disassembly video does show the Casio to have lighter weights for black too - but he's wrong to suggest that in itself is a problem but what some people might perceive as a problem is whether the amount of effort it takes to make the same sound level on white/black might be different.

So if you put weights on the front end of those keys at the actual point of interaction - how does that compare?

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[Linked Image]

Hmmmm....

I, for one, enjoy playing the Kawai VPC1. But all these measurements, analysis, fixing, tweaking, correcting, customizing, etc. etc.... is certainly intimidating to me a layperson! I feel so small and uneducated.

Above screen grab from: https://ravenworksdigital.com/product/the-studio-model-ii/


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I guess you can always enhance any mechanism and make it more accurate. The question, IMHO, is how much of that enhancement is needed for different players to notice and / or enjoy.

Listening or watching to several performances on VPC1 it does not seem to me as if people is struggling playing it.

Has anybody in the forum found any playing limitation due to these VPC1 inaccuracies?. It would be interesting to find this out to see the real life implications.


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Just play, these measurements and various degrees of mechanical perfections will result in you not buying anything, IMO. Here is a link for Cateen, who plays a Casio PXS-1000, a notoriously accused bad keyboard of weight drop measurements.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QQeXZe_fPs&t=51s

So tell me, whats important here? Spending time with useless measurements or adjusting your feel. Concert pianists seldom get the keyboard feel they'd desire on the stage, unless of course they ship their own piano.

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I had a brief session with a PXS-1000 shortly after they were released and though the action felt really, really nice to play btw :-)

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I don’t recall noticing the difference between the black and white keys on the Casio but did notice the difference in weight front to back.

The texture of the key surface was the thing I noticed the most.

It is a compelling small package but it didn’t convince me to upgrade.


And my current keyboard is a Casio px-330

One thing that struck me from the JPS video is how well made the keybed is on the Casio.

It seemed pretty easy to add some weight to the black keys hammers if one were inclined.

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Originally Posted by vagfilm
U3piano: I have zero (or negative values...) experience in piano regulation, but as far as I can tell, drilling the hammer weights would be similar to shave a bit of the key wood beyond the pivot point in a acoustic action. And piano regulators (using hundreds of years of experience in piano regulation techniques) don't take out weight beyond the pivot, but prefer to increase balance by ADDING weigth before the pivot. There should be some value to that, I assume... You may end up with and light, less controllable balance, with a slower key return. Before starting to drill I would experiment your first, easily reversible, option of adding counterweights. My 2 cents...

Thanks for the warning. But, I have a thread about this in the technicians forum where great people (actual piano technicians) are advising me on what, and how to do things, so I'm going at this well informed. So i'm actually quite confident about lightening up the hammers being a good way to lighten up the action a bit, as it should reduce downweight as well as inertia. Maybe on an acoustic it's not really possible to take out weight beyond the pivot, so adding weight before the pivot is therefore usually the chosen method? (just speculating) What I have learned is if you increase weight before the pivot, it will reduce downweight, but also increase inertia, which could cause the action to actually feel heavier, so that might not be ideal.

And, if I can take off a couple of grams off the hammers, I could also add a couple of grams again (for example by soldering) if I would not like the result. So I think it's reversible.


Originally Posted by EB5AGV
I guess you can always enhance any mechanism and make it more accurate. The question, IMHO, is how much of that enhancement is needed for different players to notice and / or enjoy.

Listening or watching to several performances on VPC1 it does not seem to me as if people is struggling playing it.

Has anybody in the forum found any playing limitation due to these VPC1 inaccuracies?. It would be interesting to find this out to see the real life implications.

Oh I love the vpc-1. I don't notice any inacurracies either. (or maybe that's what I'm adjusting my vst's to? who knows) I just would love it even more if it was a bit lighter to play. I always liked the heavier feel before, and even praised this, as I think it's great practice to be able to play any piano, and I still think it's great in that way. But since learning a new piece which requires some fast repetitive notes with my last 3 fingers (pinky, ring and middle), I'm having a difficult time controlling this on the vpc-1, while on my U3 (which plays lighter) I have no problems with this at all. So I decided I want to lighten up the vpc-1 action a bit to have it about as heavy as my u3. I think an extra benefit would be the keys will be somewhat easier to depress near the fallboard, which is a bit harder on the vpc-1 as the pivot point is on the short side.

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Well... Horowitz grinded all possible grams off his hammers so it is definitely possible. Legend says that the hammers of his beloved piano jumped at the lightest key touch. Let us know how it goes

Last edited by vagfilm; 02/18/21 01:23 PM.

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